Customer Success | 6 MIN READ

Customer Portfolio Management for Customer Success

Customer portfolio gives you an immense amount of knowledge about your customer base. To serve them well, it is crucial for you to know them well.

Shoeb Ahmed
Mar 22, 2021


Customer Portfolio Management

A customer portfolio consists of all the details you need to maintain a relationship with your customer. Through this, you are able to know your customer well and engage with them effectively. Customer portfolio management is done through tools like ERP, CRM, or customer success software that collects and stores all the customer data at one central location.

The details associated with customer portfolio may include:

  1. Company’s name
  2. Point of contacts and associates
  3. Industry and domain
  4. Products or services being used
  5. Ticket size, average revenue and billing information
  6. Type of relationship
  7. Potential upsells or cross-sells opportunities
  8. Any other detail

Clearly, you can see how important it is to give you an overview of the customer. But there’s more to it.

Importance of Customer Portfolio Management

Once you get all the details of the customer through their portfolio, you can use it for different purposes which are:

Effective engagement

Imagine engaging with a client of whom you don’t have the complete information and you go clueless on some obvious point in the meeting, it would taint your reputation drastically. Instead of looking for the information all over the place, you can refer to the customer portfolio before meeting them and know everything you need to hold a meaningful conversation with them. Once you have a clear picture of who the main contacts are, what industry they belong to, what potential for business expansion do they hold, your engagement would be as effective as it can get.

Prioritization of customer

You can not serve everything to everyone. You need to prioritize your customers for the amount of time and the level of service you can provide to them. To decide who goes first and who stands last, you need to refer to their portfolio and prioritize them accordingly.

Creating headspace

Based on portfolio, you can also know which are the customers that are not adding any value to your business. You can discard them straight away which would allow you to create more headspace for serving valuable clients.

How to do Customer Portfolio Analysis

Customer portfolio management is more than just collecting the basic information of the customer. Lot of criteria fit in while analyzing the customer portfolio which are:

Type of customer

The type of customer is crucial for you to know to perform your customer success management activities. Few types are:

  1. Partnership: This is the setup when a customer is more than just a customer. They show immense desire in the growth of the company, product or service. Companies acknowledge their contribution by giving them extra benefits while also growing the revenue from them.
  2. Recurring: This is the most common type of customer you would find in a subscription-based business. Customers pay you at specific intervals for continued usage of your product or service.
  3. Occasional: These customers show up once in a while, yet they hold a place in your customer database. Obviously, for such customers, your priority would be lower.
  4. At-risk: These are the customers who are on the brink of getting churned. You would need high-priority proactive measures to engage with them for retention.

Customer Profitability

This is another criteria for customer knowledge management – how profitable they are to your business. Know that profitability doesn’t solely depend on ticket size. The level of service needed to retain them is equally important. Out of the three categories of low, medium and high profitability, sometimes a medium size customer with no support required is more beneficial than a high-sized customer requiring extensive service.

By revenue

This is the clear-cut way of analyzing the portfolio. The revenue they generate annually or monthly and the percentage of their contribution on your total ARR also hold importance in serving them. This comes under the category of recurring revenues.

Another category of revenue can be calculated based on customer lifetime value. Based on customer profile, a lifetime value can be projected which helps companies to meet their needs and decide the level of service they would give.

Final category of revenues is through potential upsells or cross-sells opportunities a customer holds for a business.

By Geography

Geography also plays a crucial role in strategizing for customers. Your customers might be spread across different states, countries and in the world. Different criteria like government policies, climate conditions, and business environments add up to the strategies you would create for serving those customers from different locations.

Customer Activity

Based on customer activity also you can segregate their portfolios. Customers who are active or passive need different levels of engagement and hence must be identified beforehand.

Business or industry type

This is one of the main aspects of segregating the customer – based on their business domain or niche. Customers belonging to a particular niche must be assembled together and the right personnel must be assigned to serve them who possess domain knowledge. Knowing the customer domain is important because it allows you to provide them contextual solutions while also creating the right product-market fit. When you are segregating customers according to their niche, you are opening up to the new verticals of businesses.

Serving the Customers According to Portfolios

Once you have the right portfolio for all kinds of customers, you can create the service packages for each of them. You can do so by:

Assigning the right customer success representative

Different CSMs have different levels of expertise and experience. Assigning the ones with the right skill sets to the right kind of customers is paramount for you to conduct your customer success service.

Defining goals

You need to define goals for the customers belonging to different stages in their customer journey. Their portfolios are different and so are their goals. What they want to achieve as the next milestone should be thoroughly understood by your CSMs and must be worked with.

Customer engagement

Based on customer service knowledge, your customer engagement strategy must take shape. You must allocate right amount of time and effort for the customers needing most to least support from you. Which customers need most and least support can be known by looking at different parameters in their portfolio.

Showing value

Demonstrating value from time to time is an important part of customer success practice. Hence, what values to be shown to which customer can be known through the customer portfolio.

Wrap Up

Customer portfolio gives you an immense amount of knowledge about your customer base. To serve them well, it is crucial for you to know them, their business, their contact persons, and much more. Only through right understanding of a customer would you be able to add value to their business and build a lasting relationship.

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Originally Published March 22nd, 2021, Updated March 23rd, 2021

Shoeb Ahmed

Shoeb lives and breathes Customer Success and SaaS. He has a passion to research on the latest innovations happening in SaaS and Customer Success. Shoeb hails from a Software Architecture background where he worked for many years with Indian Tech Giants like Wipro and ITC building software solutions for their MNC clients in the UK and Denmark.

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